HarrisInteractive released the results of its May 2008 survey of over 2000 adults regarding the status of American education on Monday. Public schools, it seems, are not doing well in the eye of the public.
Public schools fall to the bottom of the list when it comes to the quality of education they provide. Just one in six U.S. adults (15%) say public schools, grades K-6 provide excellent or very good education while 13 percent say the same about public schools for grades 7-12; Are Public Schools Flunking or Passing?
Worse even than charters and homeschooling. The overview is interesting. Peter Shafer, Vice President and Head of Harris Interactive’s Youth Center of Excellence finds the results of the survey appalling and a call to action.
The continued decline in the public’s perception of the quality of education should be a call to action for administrators and policymakers at all levels of government. It is appalling that one of the best areas of performance in public education the quality of gym classes. Ibid.
Which I might be inclined to think as well, except this is merely an opinion poll. The same adults were asked to rate homeschools, charter schools, public schools and private schools (both church-related and non church-related) whether or not they had any specific experience with any of these forms of education.
Looking at the tables more closely, however, reveals a potentially disturbing trend. After all, homeschooling has made steady gains in successive opinion polls, demonstrating increasing acceptance. In this poll, however, homeschooling seems to have slid back a little bit.
The percentage of people rating homeschooling as “excellent” dropped, as well, but still did not upset our ranking above both charter and public schools. The differences are small…almost statistically insignificant. However, in some of these areas, the “approval rate” for homeschooling approaches the statistically insignificant.
I find it interesting that when adults are asked for an opinion of the general state of education, they rank public schooling so poorly. Broken down, however, it is clear that homeschooling ranks far behind public school. So we are better “overall” but not in any of the specifics? Something does not add up.